George Soros. Photo: Popow/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Responding to a bombshell New York Times piece, the president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, Patrick Gaspard, said Facebook's "methods threaten the very values underpinning our democracy" in a letter addressed to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The backdrop: The Times article alleged — among other things — that Facebook utilized a Republican-oriented public relations group to help navigate Washington politics during its user privacy controversies. That group also reportedly singled out Soros, who is often targeted by the right, and Open Society as "the unacknowledged force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement."

The full text of the letter:

Dear Ms. Sandberg: 
I was shocked to learn from the New York Times that you and your colleagues at Facebook hired a Republican opposition research firm to stir up animus toward George Soros. As you know, there is a concerted right-wing effort the world over to demonize Mr. Soros and his foundations, which I lead—an effort which has contributed to death threats and the delivery of a pipe bomb to Mr. Soros’ home. You are no doubt also aware that much of this hateful and blatantly false and Anti-Semitic information is spread via Facebook.  
The notion that your company, at your direction, actively engaged in the same behavior to try to discredit people exercising their First Amendment rights to protest Facebook’s role in disseminating vile propaganda is frankly astonishing to me. 
It’s been disappointing to see how you have failed to monitor hate and misinformation on Facebook’s platform. To now learn that you are active in promoting these distortions is beyond the pale.   
These efforts appear to have been part of a deliberate strategy to distract from the very real accountability problems your company continues to grapple with. This is reprehensible, and an offense to the core values Open Society seeks to advance. But at bottom, this is not about George Soros or the foundations. Your methods threaten the very values underpinning our democracy. 
I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this matter with you in person, and to hear what steps you might take to help remediate the damage done by this deeply misguided--and dangerous--effort carried out at Facebook’s behest. 
Sincerely, 
Patrick Gaspard
President | Open Society Foundations

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations is named Patrick Gaspard, not Paul. We regret the error.

Go deeper

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 32,881,747 — Total deaths: 994,821 — Total recoveries: 22,758,171Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 7,079,909 — Total deaths: 204,503 — Total recoveries: 2,750,459 — Total tests: 100,492,536Map.
  3. States: New York daily cases top 1,000 for first time since June — U.S. reports over 55,000 new coronavirus cases.
  4. Health: The long-term pain of the mental health pandemicFewer than 10% of Americans have coronavirus antibodies.
  5. Business: Millions start new businesses in time of coronavirus.
  6. Education: Summer college enrollment offers a glimpse of COVID-19's effect.

Durbin on Barrett confirmation: "We can’t stop the outcome"

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Senate Democrats can “slow” the process of confirming Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at the most," but that they "can’t stop the outcome."

Why it matters: Durbin confirmed that Democrats have "no procedural silver bullet" to stop Senate Republicans from confirming Barrett before the election, especially with only two GOP senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voicing their opposition. Instead, Democrats will likely look to retaliate after the election if they win control of the Senate and White House.

The top Republicans who aren't voting for Trump in 2020

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge announced in an op-ed Sunday that he would be voting for Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Ridge, who was also the first secretary of homeland security under George W. Bush, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.